If you are going through treatments for cancer, the physical and emotional toll can be a lengthy battle. Finding ways to avoid unnecessary mental and physical stress may help:
Focus On Nutrition
Eating a healthy diet is always important, and your diet is even more important to give your body adequate energy and resiliency during treatment. You need to make sure you have a nutritionally-sound diet, even if your tastes change throughout treatment or you find some foods cause gastrointestinal discomfort. If you have any days when it is difficult to eat a full meal, you may want to consider other products that provide adequate nutrition, but are lighter on your stomach.
Do not overlook retail products that are geared toward children or seniors, but can be equally beneficial in cases of dehydration or as liquid meal supplements. Sometimes, these products may be less expensive than protein powders or similar products that are marketed for fitness. Another option to help with nutrition is intravenous nutrition.
You do not need to be severely ill before intravenous nutrition is an option. If you are having a difficult time regularly eating a nutritious diet and taking dietary supplements, you may avoid the adverse effects of significant nutrient deficiencies with intravenous support.
Take Some "Me" Time
Personal time may take a back seat when you have work and family obligations, in addition to treatments and the possibility of side effects. If you have people in your life who are willing to pitch-in and help, work with them to schedule a time each week when you can do activities that make you feel better. Spending time alone and doing activities you enjoy does not always mean going outside of the house.
You may simply want an hour or two where you can take a hot bath, undisturbed, and catch-up on your favorite television show or read a book. Once you are more familiar with your treatment plan and which, if any, days you may need to recuperate, you can determine which days and times you will likely feel good enough to schedule personal time.
Ask For Help Directly
One problem many people face when dealing with illness is they may feel like the people around them are not as helpful as they want. Before assuming friends and family are unsupportive, make sure you have asked for help directly. You should never expect the people around you to anticipate your needs.
Everyone reacts differently to unsolicited help, and the people around you may have faced a negative experience where a person has reacted harshly to a kind gesture. You may need to ask directly for help if you need physical tasks performed, but you may also need to ask for specific types of emotional support. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether a person needs to be alone or if they want the company of others, if they have not expressed their feelings.
Don't Neglect Emotional Aspects
Although cancer and available treatments can take a physical toll, your emotional health needs to be a top priority. Problems, such as anxiety or depression, are common due to concerns about your health and other dilemmas that often co-occur with treatment. For example, the stress of cancer treatments on your relationships or finances can make it difficult to focus solely on your health.
You may want to discuss any concerns with your oncologist, who can direct you to available resources. Keeping your feelings to yourself will only make the treatment process more difficult, and can prevent you from learning about resources that can take some of the burden off your shoulders.
Although cancer and treatments are difficult, there are ways to avoid unnecessary battles. Focusing on the various aspects of your overall health and seeking help for related problems before they spiral out of control can give you more time and energy to focus on beating cancer.
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